Report: #101640

Complaint Review: Recreational Resorts - Wilderness Presidential

  • Submitted: Sun, August 01, 2004
  • Updated: Fri, May 02, 2014
  • Reported By: Germantown Maryland
  • Recreational Resorts - Wilderness Presidential
    9220 Plank Rd
    Spotsylvania, Virginia

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Some businesses look perfectly legal, everything is written on paper and binding to the law. You are ripped off but cannot complain because your signature is on the agreement, even though you really could not foresee the consequences in the future when you signed it. This is exactly how I feel, painfully.

The company that caused this pain is called Recreational Resorts, Ltd or also named Wilderness Resorts and Wilderness Presidential in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Probably, there are many other similar kinds of businesses like them.

Is it a bad business practice? You be the judge.

I bought a lifetime charter membership for $7,000 in 1985. The company had excellent marketing tactics and along with the monthly payments and I also paid about $200 a year for maintenance to use the camping with additional payment and recreation facility. The obligation to pay for maintaining the site is perfectly reasonable if you use it.

This sad story began in 1995. I have no desire to use the site anymore; but I am still forced to pay the maintenance fee that has increased to over $270 a year. I wanted to sell it and paid two realtors at $350 and $170 for selling the membership, but got no response. I also tried to donate to non-profit organizations, but nobody was really interested.

For 18 years I have tried everything, including placing ads in supermarkets, bringing people to the site, or just asking around, but I could not get rid of it. Until recently, a website offered the service of selling this kind of membership. I was the first one to pay $395 for putting an ad on its Web. Just within one month, I have found out that there are 431 other people selling the same membership! Obviously, it is another waste of my money!

Please see the following calculation to see how these smart people ripped all of us off.
Assume 432 members have paid $7,000 to purchase the membership and paid maintenance fees for 10 years without using the facilities. What is the company getting from us? $3,024,000 for membership and $1,080,000 for maintenance fee.

The company is continuing to sell their membership for the business growth. They also hold millions of dollars of those members who cannot sell and at least $750,000 donations from those members who never use their facilities. The number will keep growing if we do not stop it.

What a rip-off?! Who can stop it???

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Germantown, Maryland

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/01/2004 04:20 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

Cant even give it away

AUTHOR: ddyer - ()

Hi so I have read all the complaints about 

Wilderness Presidential Resort

and wanted to let you all know what is going on with me. I to got suckerd in thinking I won a prize, but I did end up signing while there. I did sign because to me it was a good deal. I do alot of camping and I'm local so its a good deal to me. So what my complaint back in 2007, I posted on craigslist for sale and found a buyer that was willing to take over my payments. We had a new deed drawn up we all met at the resort. The staff was very friendly and helped us out and i signed over my ownership of the property. Well here it is now 2014 7 years later the resort is calling me asking me when am i going to pay maintence fees and in forming me that there has not been a payment made in 7 months and im being $900 and i informed them i sold it 7 years ago. They gave me the name on the property as the lady i sold it to. i told them correct but then they tell me Im still on the deed and i need to pay or it will be forclosed on and will show on my credit. So at first i asked what the pay off was thinking its been 7 years maybe I can get it back cheap. They tell me 1700 so i know i was lucky saleing it years ago and knowing u can find them on craigslist for free now. Looking into if this can be correct and how to fight it as i signed it over 7 years ago. The lady i sold it to has called me and appoligiged but is now terminly ill and can no longer pay for it. There coming after me now for payment. Why would i want to take it back over and pay 1700 bucks when i can get one on craigslist for way cheaper or free.


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#2 Consumer Comment

If you still hve I would be glad to take it

AUTHOR: Brian B. - ()

 If you are still interestested in giving it away I could use it.  You could reach me  by sending to brb69142 at an aol address.  Even just the camping would be good for my family.  I have also fallen victim to other Timeshare scams one of which claimed to a "Benificial Interest in a Trust" and therefore had no set real estate guidelines (which in New Hampshire is perfectly legal, I now live in VA) and couldn't be sold for anywhere near the price I paid.  They have their uses I guess, but I would not advise to ever buy through the actal resorts as many can be obtained free or very cheap as seen here.  Then you are only responsible for the maintenance fees.  Again I would be intersed in this resort as it is close by.

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#3 General Comment

Wilderness Membership

AUTHOR: vapilot4 - ()

 Anyone that wants to give up their membership to get out of the fees i will take it.......I know the property and the old sales pitch used but, the buyers knew up front about the annual fees so anyone that wants to sign over their deed let me know and we'll proceed to the legal steps needed to transfer ownership....imny152 at

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#4 Consumer Comment

If you claim to want my membership I'll give it to you!

AUTHOR: didja - (United States of America)

There are several statements on this forum that the resort is wonderful and great, so much so that you will take it off my hands. Well, I am offering just that. If you want it, I will give you my membership for free. I will pay all annual dues up to date and sign the deed to you. Simply contact me at (((redacted))).

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#5 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Wilderness Rebuttel Spotsylvania Virginia

AUTHOR: True Build Works - (United States of America)

I aggree if you due not use the facilities,  You feel ripped off by the yearly fee,  However I am a whole lot owner and If I due not use the property I get the fee any ways.  But the point is it is not a ripp off,  You new about the fee from day one,  If you due not or cannot sell the property have you concidered the economic times we are in or put the property on the membership board by Glen 27 and say Free you will get red of it, Some one with a member ship Non-Owner will have some one who wants it or wants YOUR charter to travel to the other resorts in the USE for free did you forget the free USA travel you have
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#6 Consumer Comment

i will take a charter membership off someones hands

AUTHOR: ElectricalGuru - (United States of America)

i live right near the resort and would gladly take someones Charter Membership off there hands. If someone is looking to give up one just let me know at (((ROR redacted))) and i will gladly take it off your hands.
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#7 Consumer Comment

whats going on here

AUTHOR: bry - (United States of America)

Hi all first off you sign an agreement to pay the dues lets say you buy a boat slip and decide to sell your boat well you still have the boat slip usally there are dues on them too so now sell it to someone who wants it keep paying dues or simply give it away. i have a membership here and it's grand here. so to those who want to get rid of a lot they own here or a membership all you have to do to get rid of it is send me an e-mail at and ill take them off your hands yes it's that simple 1 email and your prolbem is solved now that wasent so hard now was it. yes there may be 480 memberships for sale on website's that you pay for but ask yourself what are they trying to sell it for oh and dont forget they are charging you to list them and also the people fee to buy them (for deed work) and the deed work can be done by my 6yr old a quit clam deed is verry simple to fill out and go buy instructions included.if you go ten years paying dues for something you never use is just silly. with a little research you can get it sold or give it away lets see 10yrs of dues or give it away hmm simple give it away would be the cheapest way to go. so this is simple who can stop this you can by using your mind and doing what makes sense in todays world. we have the internet that can reach millons and billons of people so if you relly want to get it gone then why cant you the ones you should be talking about is the sites that charged you to try to sell something and never sold it.
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#8 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Stef - (United States of America)

I agree, Wilderness Resort is a scam, but not in the way you describe it. You described buying a LIFETIME charter membership and you agreed to pay maintenance fees as long as you are an owner. Just because one day you decide you don't want to use it anymore doesn't mean you don't have to pay for the maintenance fees, because you do still own it. Think about it as a house (because it is an ownership), you don't mind paying HOA fees while you're living there. But if you decide to just move out because you don't like it anymore, it doesn't mean you don't have to still pay your mortgage and maintenance fees and taxes. And trust me, "nobody wanted to buy it and a lot of other people are selling theirs too", isn't a good excuse compared to the contract you signed.

However, the real scam is the fact that the salespeople are trained to tell you that you're paying for a deed to the property and it's use. Also they include a "travel program" through RCI. Well, if you read the fine print, you're actually buying 1 week of time per year in their log cabins that can only be used in the off-season. Everything else is just considered a camping "membership" and you must pay to stay at the resort you "own". The travel company used is RCI, but they use the "burn weeks", or weeks that are traded in by other timeshare owners and not booked by anyone else. So that leaves a week in Minnesota in Febuary pretty much. I can tell you that I've never heard or seen anyone book a trip to Hawaii, Europe, the Caribbean or anywhere else that would be considered a popular destination.

The resort is great when used as a family camping resort. It has pools, a gym, horseshoes and tons of activities. It's great for a family looking for a inexpensive and safe place to go on the weekends and have fun. But no one should ever buy this as a property investment or as a means of world-wide travel. And if you don't plan on ever using it, then know it will not be easy to sell---it's a camping membership after all. But also know, when people buy it and never use it, it actually helps the resort as a whole. It brings in more money for activities and renovations without causing overcrowding. But don't blame the resort for the owners not using it. It's not their fault that people signed up to own something that they knew they'd never use. People do it all the time. It's called being an unwise consumer.

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#9 Consumer Comment

Wish I could contact you

AUTHOR: Barbara - (U.S.A.)

barbara here - like I said I would take them off your hands especially if you just want to stop paying the annual dues and give the membership up for free. I am thrlilangelsx20 and that would be aol address. If anyone wants to really give them up just to end having to pay the dues . . . I will even prepare the legal paperwork to do so - just can't be behind in your dues.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Cheap Membership

AUTHOR: Rhe In Nc - (U.S.A.)

I bought mine in the early 90's and enjoyed it, however like most of the posts I have moved and kids have grown. I no longer use it If anyone is interested in it please feel free to contact me via e-mail for info. LETS MAKE A DEAL! (((Redacted)))

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#11 Consumer Comment

Young & Stupid

AUTHOR: Natalie - (U.S.A.)

So last summer we were at a fair in Fairfax, VA. there was a booth there {this hell hole} trying to pull you into the BS of you can win 20k, for the fact we just moved here last June, we could use 20k, who couldn't. Well we are military, we had the money at the time from moving and whatnot & just getting back from being deployed. We go down there, look around, we were gonna say no, but i was pregnant, hungry & tired, just wanted to leave.. But my husband thought it was cool. Then after telling them no a few times, they pulled the "military discount" which is totally rude, and they kept throwing stuff in there.. If i knew then, that with my husband's job now he gets no time off, we would of left there with more money, then we did.

We have been paying the monthly fees of 146.26 since August 07, we haven;t been able to pay the yearly fee, cos we simply don;t have the money, we barely have the money to buy food & pay bills, when all this extra money is going to this crap. We tried going to JAG (military lawers) they couldn't help us, pretty sad. Someone please take this from us, i seriously hate this place. We haven't even been back to it since we were there that day. If someone can tell me what w ehave to do, besides pay it off, please God let me know.
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#12 Consumer Comment

Wilderness Resort

AUTHOR: Wolni - (U.S.A.)

I would be willing to take one of these memberships of your hands as well. I don't think they allow you to post personal info here though. You can contact me at iaiaua at hotmail dot com. If you are able to figure that one out! We have friends that go to the Wilderness and love it and we've always wanted a membership ourselves. We are a young family of 6 with a new camper and would love to have a membership. We never plan to move away so we wouldn't feel too bogged down with that annual fee.
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#13 Consumer Comment

Another One Bites The Dust

AUTHOR: Tammy - (U.S.A.)

My husband and I too are victims to this scam purchased in 1993....and what's even worse, he bought us another one at Massanutten a year later. We are military and moved away in 1995. We have never used either of these timeshares. However, each year we have to pay two maintenance fees and when you don't, they add interest and eventually send you to a collection agency and call harrassing you 24/7. We considered selling ours too but after reading all these comments, apparently it is a waste of time and money. I guess we'll have to consider cancelling the membership .... unless we can find some other person who wants to take them off our hands. Perhaps I should go to Spotsylvania and stand just outside the gate with a big sign saying our membership is for sale at 10% of what they are asking!!!!!
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#14 REBUTTAL Owner of company


AUTHOR: Cj - (U.S.A.)

Hi Baraba,
If you would like my timeshare you can have it! I moved out of the area and is in the process of a divorce. You can email me for more info.
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#15 Consumer Comment

Ripoff or not

AUTHOR: Barbara - (U.S.A.)

I must say I would love to have this membership turned over to me - I will pay the dues as I live nearby and my family loves to camp there. Any time one of these feel they have been ripped off - I would be glad to take it off their hands. I am willing to give a couple hundred dollars or as Linda from Germantown MD states - give it to me and I will take it off their hands as I have a daughter that would love to have the membership.
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#16 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Josh&audrey - (U.S.A.)

We were young and fell into this trap. I was wondering if anyone got anything resolved, and if they did HOW?!?! We would like all the help we can get trying to get rid of this.

Being that my husband is military, we have not used it once. Now we just had a baby and it is not even worth it because it will be quite awhile before we can do any type of trip so therefore we are paying for nothing.

I wish we could have known earlier that this seem to be a scam. The amount we owed on taxes this year IS NOT what we were told. They were almost $100 more than what we were told was supposed to be the max. They knocked down the price, but then they still end up getting the same amount of money off the interest.

We would like more than anything to get rid of this.. any help would be appreciated!

Josh & Audrey, VA BEACH, VA
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#17 Consumer Suggestion

Also ripped off by Wilderness Presidential Resorts

AUTHOR: Michele - (U.S.A.)

I moved out of the area 4 years ago and paid off my resort price but I still have to continue paying maintenance fees even though I will probably never use the property again!!!!!!!

And I, too have paid over $1,500.00 to advertising companies for nothing!

If anyone does file a class action suit or has any legal way to get out of this horrible arrangement, please let me know!

Please help us!!!! These annual fees are killing us especially if the property is paid off and I never intend to use it and it just won't sell!!!!

Thank you for reading.
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#18 Author of original report

The company told me that we can cancel membership

AUTHOR: Gary - (U.S.A.)

I have just received a letter from the "Wilderness Resort Associate". It informs me that the members can cancel their membership as long as they have paid their membership fees. I will never know this policy if I have not filed the complaint with "Better Business Bureau". Although it is not an ideal solution but better than nothing. I believe if all members file the complaint together, we will get a much better solution.
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#19 Consumer Comment

My story regarding Recreational Resorts - Wilderness Presidential Resorts

AUTHOR: Nadine - (U.S.A.)

I've been a charter member to the Resorts since the early 1980s. The Charter membership cost me the same. However, my maintenance fees are different than what you pay. The sales person who sold me the membership was very nice, but now I would call it "smooth talk." The company did have excellent marketing tactics -- from free gifts to "let me know when you visit -- I can come over for dinner."

I stop using the Resorts around 1983 because I had to leave the area. Still paying dues, about 1990, I wanted to sell my membership since I wouldn't be using it anymore. I called the Administrative Office at the Resorts to see what I could do and was told that I could sell it. At that time the value of the Charter Membership was at $11,000 or so. If I wanted to sell it, it was something I would have to do on my own -- they could not help me sell my membership.

About 1990, I contacted a place in Florida that specialized in selling campground memberships such as this. I paid them over $300 for them to advertise the add and never received a response from anyone. So I counted that as lost money. I could either continue paying the maintenance dues and keep this think going or stop paying and let it all go by the wayside.

Now that I'm back in the area, I've used the Resorts 3 times -- the most recent time being this past weekend (20-21 Aug 04). I was satisfied with the first 2 visits. But I'm now questioning my desire to hold onto the membership because of this last visit. It's as though the life of the Resorts has died.

As I visited the Resorts this time, I noticed very little change from when I first purchased the membership over 20 years ago. In fact, it appeared to me the maintenance at the Wilderness Presidential Resorts in Spotsylvania, VA was very poor. Note the following:

It was very difficult to read the street signs on the campground at night. I had to strain my eyes to find how to get to my trailer. It was more like instinct -- "turn here."

You're required to take out your trash daily. It was never a problem until when I had to take out the trash this time. Last year, there were trash cans you could see posted on the trails. There was not a trash can in sight from my trailer. I even walked up and down the trail. The first trash can I could find was near a little playground which appears to be lifeless.

The trailer last year leaked from the shower into the master bedroom.

This trailer this time had cob webs under the bed and hair in the shower.

There were gnats in and around the trailer lights, and dead ones on the trailer the entire time. In trying to rid the gnats above the kitchen sink, the globe over the light came crashing to the floor. Even my guests complained of dead gnats on the light fixture above the stove as they cleaned the inside of their trailer.

I was very dissatisfied and disappointed with the Resorts. I wondered what they were doing with all the monies collected from me and others for memberships, maintenance dues, etc., for all these years! My guests weren't pleased with the Resorts and what they had to offer. Nothing has really changed at the Resorts with the exception of an indoor swimming pool for whenever that was put in.

Have I been ripped off? I feel I have. I paid for something I thought I would enjoy for a long time and be able to pass on to my children. But instead, what I've got was poor ground and trailer maintenance, a lack of interest in its members' concerns, and what I perceive to be depreciation into what you get for the money you pay. The cost has doubled since when I first purchased the Charter Membership. It could use a facelift.

Also, they would benefit by utilizing surveys to see what needs to be improved, etc. Receiving feedback from its members could benefit the Resort and the member utilizing the campground -- that is they would act on the feedback and not just file it away. I've been in membership with this resorts for a long time and have never once received anything from them except a bill every year with an increase in maintenance dues!

If this many people, including myself, feel they've been ripped off, I wonder if this warrants a "Class Action Lawsuit."

Was this a misrepresentation on the part of the Resorts selling memberships for which they knew they had members desiring to sell? Could I have then purchased a membership at a cheaper price from someone wanting to sell their membership? After all, they're still selling memberships and I'd be willing to sell mine at a cheaper rate than what they're selling to a perspective buyer. My guest informed me they say a sales person sitting down with a family selling them a membership. Is this called a scam? They know people of members wanting to sell, but they're continuing to sell at a much higher rate. This is not right!

I wonder if this would get the attention of one or more of the major TV News stations -- an investigation into the selling of memberships at extraordinary prices and what you get for it once you signed your name on the line at the Recreational Resorts - Wilderness Presidential Resorts, Spotsylvania, Virginia -- let's get the real story.
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#20 Consumer Comment

I know how you feel just what a scam it is

AUTHOR: Marc - (U.S.A.)

I also joined this resort and have been a victim of the same "sounds good" lets give a try.
Then we realized just what a scam it is.
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